In pre-war Italy, a young couple have a baby boy. The father, however, is jealous of his son - and the scene moves to antiquity, where the baby is taken into the desert to be killed. He is ... See full summary »
To win the kingdom his uncle took from his father, Jason must steal the golden fleece from the land of barbarians, where Medea is royalty and a powerful sorceress, where human sacrifice ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
In this film inspired by the ancient erotic and mysterious tales of the Middle East, the main story concerns an innocent young man who comes to fall in love with a slave who selected him as... See full summary »
This consists of four short films by different directors. Rosselini's 'Chastity' ('Illibatezza') deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged ... See full summary »
Microphone in hand, Pier Paolo Pasolini asks Italians to talk about sex: he asks children where babies come from, young and old women if they are men's equals, men and women if a woman's ... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini,
While scouting locations for his classic "The Gospel According to St. Matthew", director Pier Paolo Pasolini noticed that filming in the actual site of the story, in Palestine, wouldn't be ... See full summary »
Five short stories with contemporary settings. In New York, people are indifferent to derelicts sleeping on sidewalks, to a woman's assault in front of an apartment building, and to a ... See full summary »
After many years working in the streets of Roma, the middle-age whore Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani) saves money to buy an upper class apartment, a fruit stand and retires from the prostitution.... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Pasolini
In a seedy section of Rome, Vittorio Cataldi - "Accattone" ("beggar" in Italian) to those that know him - lives off the avails of prostitution, Maddalena being his one and only girl. He is married to Ascenza with who he has one young son named Iaio, but he does not live with them - they who live with her father and brother - provide for them, or play any important part of their lives. He generally hangs out with his similarly slack life friends playing cards and drinking. His source of income is threatened when Maddalena is injured being hit by a motorcyclist, then beaten by rivals of his, which leads to her being arrested and jailed for a year. Largely because of Iaio, Accattone contemplates going straight and getting a real job. Then he meets Stella, a young innocent woman who has had a hard life, but who is not as naive to the ways of the world as she first appears. Accattone falls in love with her, but as the thought of working a steady job now becomes abhorrent, contemplates ... Written by
Incredibly bleak tale, told without sentiment or moral preaching
The term 'accattone' is an old Italian phrase intended to brand a character with an aura of absolute repulsiveness. Thieves and low-lives would usually coin the term when referring to a character that is so despicable, so without moral or social decency, that even the criminals would look down upon them. In Pier Paolo Pasolini's incredibly assured debut, 'Accattone' is Vittorio (Franco Citti), a low-life pimp who when he is not sitting around squeezing money out of people with wagers and tricks, is abusing his lone prostitute who cannot work after breaking her leg in a motorcycle accident. It's a tale of a despicable scumbag, set during a dark period in Rome, where men viewed working as slave labour, and enjoyed themselves by beating prostitutes to within an inch of their life.
It's an incredibly bleak tale, told without sentiment and moral preaching. Pasolini's doesn't seem to want to dictate a larger social message, or make Accattone a sympathetic character who is the victim of political or social oppression, but to simply tell a tale, a real tale, of a group of low-lives who are the way they are because they want to be. After all, the true soul of neo-realism is to portray life the way actual people experience it, not to romanticise or sentimentalise it with the kind of scripts Hollywood are responsible for. Of course, many neo-realist directors would almost betray the genres roots the kind of way only auteurs can manage, and Pasolini would go on to make more surrealistic and interpretive movies, but this is true neo-realism without any kind of magical reward for the audience, or a moment of redemptive enlightenment for its protagonist. It's a story of grit, one that is thrilling and fascinating in equal measures, and with the stamp of a great director.
The film I felt it more akin to is Luis Bunuel's Los Olvidados (1950), a film of equal disregard for cinematic wonder, and one that is also punctured by an impressive dream sequence. Whilst Bunuel's sequence came around the middle section, and was a burst of absolute surrealistic beauty amongst social depravity, Accattone's comes during its climax; a strange, moody set-piece in which Accattone witnesses his own funeral, amongst other things. At first I felt like it was almost betraying what came before, but then I realised it was Pasolini's way to try and get into its characters head, and the outcome is as confusing and as futile as Accattone himself. Though I haven't seen much of Pasolini's work, this is the best I've seen, beating even the distressing brilliance of his final film Salo (1975). Though he would move away from neo-realism, Pasolini achieves more with his debut than some of the greats of the genre would manage to achieve.
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